Now that BIM is the standard for construction documentation done by Architects, Engineers, Contractors and Facility Owners: the AEC/O industry, there remains clear challenges that need to be addressed by individuals who create and benefit from those models.
The Facility Owner’s Challenge: As the final recipients of the project Buildi ng Information Models (BIM’s) created by the consulting AEC’s, the Facility Owner should receive the greatest benefit of rich, graphic and data filled models which represent the “brain-trust” of all the design professionals hired for the project. Unfortunately, the reality is far less than the ideal:
- If signed contracts did not define the Facility Owner’s BIM expectations prior to the start of the project, the resulting multi-discipline, BIM deliverables would be a disparate and disconnected package with little consistency and LOD integration of modeled and parameter data among the various models. These types of BIMs are also often very difficult to use due to excessive modeling (high-facet count), along with minimal model organization. There is little or no consistent, readily available, useable meta-data to be extracted and exposed for the owner’s FM or GIS needs.
- If there is a defined deliverable requirement per model and discipline, the Facility Owner must employ knowledgeable BIM users to review all models and validate each model’s compliance. This requires considerable time to review and ensure that design consultants have met the standards required for downstream consumption.
- Within the Revit software, there is no automated mechanism allowing the Facility Owner to “audit” the models for compliance to any type of modeling requirement. A COBie Excel file export is possible but requires the AEC consultants to fill in a separate COBie excel file data “by hand, per model, per discipline”. This same COBie excel file data is separate from the model and thus is disconnected data. This data entry is tedious and error prone.
- A small percentage of forward-thinking Owners create and/or manage their own BIM content and parameter standards which they provide to their AEC consultants. Even though this creates a more consistent and useable parameter data structure downstream, it requires considerable time, cost, and expertise to manage a multi-discipline BIM library as well as ongoing maintenance each year due to the release of new software versions and features. The Facility Owner is also required to make these BIM standards available to their AECs through any number of interfaces, which also require funding and maintenance to ensure version control.
- Upon receipt of final models, preparation for downstream use and conversion for FM software consumption is typically necessary. Considerable time is needed to update and prepare models for export into a format that can be consumed by the FM software of choice.
The Design Professional’s Challenge: Within most AEC firms, Revit users have varying degrees of BIM standards and content available for their project use. The non-billable work effort to maintain those BIM standards includes:
- The initial creation and organization of the BIM templates, content and standards per discipline is required to ensure consistency across products, as well as create efficiency during the transition and migration from CAD to BIM. This non-billable work effort is typically done by expensive staff with a strong BIM background.
- Continued maintenance is required of the BIM templates, content, and standards to address new software updates and versions. New content is also created as the needs of the BIM staff increases with usage. Creation of new workflow documentation is needed to ensure users understand how new content is used. Again, this non-billable work effort is typically done by expensive staff with a strong BIM background.
- As BIM staff changes, continuity of BIM templates, content and standards must be addressed. Employing multiple authors, concurrently or consecutively, inevitably leads to deviations from previous BIM data management techniques. Over time and through turnover, this history is lost, and knowledge fails to get communicated when authoring parties change.
- In lieu of robust content and standards, BIM teams will often rely on standards they used in previous projects. This leads to using BIM content or techniques which could deviate or contradict updated office standards.
- Deploying BIM standards across a firm can also be an IT environment challenge, both in end user experience as well as technological devices required to deploy it. Multi-office firms will often fall back on having separate and unique BIM standard per office location, which contradicts the ideal: one BIM standard for all users in all offices. Single-office firms typically rely on external IT consultants and BIM staff to handle these challenges, increasing overhead and perceived value.
- In lieu of robust content and standards, project teams will sometimes download and insert content from the internet from BIM libraries or manufacturers into their models without informing their BIM Manager. This type of internet content is rarely, if ever, compliant with the existing office shared parameter schedule standards. It is also typically not modeled in a fashion that is most suitable for the purpose, making large models run extremely slowly and resulting in loss of productivity while simultaneously compromising deadlines.
- Hiring BIM staff can have unexpected results since there are few known methods of confirming the presence of the skill set without first-hand witnesses. Hiring qualified BIM Management staff can be a challenge as they are typically more costly and harder to find. Inexperienced BIM personnel are easier to find but can be costly to the project’s model quality and delivery schedule due to inexperienced decision-making.
- Overhead vs. Billable time. BIM Management Staff typically are overhead roles and have minimal billable project work. Their efforts are spread across every project in the creation of standards and content.
- Without clear BIM documentation, management of novice Revit staff tends to require considerable time for assisting with diagnostic and treatment issues. This negatively impacts the creation and maintenance of BIM standards, content, and time for model review regarding contractual deliverables.
The Solution is COLLECTUS®: Collectus provides a fully functioning, remotely managed, BIM standards library available in the cloud to all the Facility Owner’s AEC consultants. This multi-discipline, imperial and metric library of 14,000+ unique components is designed for ease of use, minimizing model complexity and maximizing the management of shared parameter data across all project disciplines using a single, standardized shared parameter data set. Project templates, design and documentation schedules, family templates and instructional documentation make Collectus the complete Revit Standards Package for all things BIM, from conceptual design through facility management.
Collectus is intentionally designed with the most important end-user in mind: Facility Owners. They can rely on Collectus to deliver the highest degree of BIM room and asset data consistency. Revit models created by the AEC design professionals using Collectus are passed to the Facility Owner with a fully coordinated shared parameter and modeling schema. Collectus provides an automated model Audit feature which will “flag and locate” model content that is non-compliant to the Collectus package. This allows the AEC’s to audit the models prior to submission and for the Facility Owner’s, non-BIM staff to audit the models once they are received. Facility Owners can also validate work done by their AEC’s via Collectus Revit schedules to ensure all parameter data has been filled completely. This provides a consistent building, room and asset meta-data structure which can be used for exposure for the Facility Owner’s FM and GIS needs.
Chief Technology Officers within the AEC firms can have confidence that a single source of BIM Standards is being used by their firmwide staff, providing consistent and predictable results for every project BIM submission. AEC Revit users can count on Collectus to provide content conducive to their design and documentation requirements with little or no additional effort within each session of Revit. They also have access to full documentation in case they have questions on how to use the content. BIM Managers can count on reliable model data with reduced setup and oversight, ensuring ease of coordination across all the design consultants. Collectus allows BIM managers to reduce their efforts managing office BIM standards, updating content for new versions of Revit and creating custom Revit content. Instead, they can focus most of their time on billable hour project needs, particularly point-of-care user support.
The foundation of Collectus content and standards has been built by the award-winning Revit experts at CDV Systems and powered by 26 Degrees Software, the makers of ViewAQC®. For the past 18 years, CDV has been growing, evolving, and transforming this package and its BIM workflows, which is used by the most prestigious AEC/O firms (i.e. AECOM, HOK, and NBBJ) on hundreds of millions of SF of BIM projects worldwide. Collectus represents the culmination of the existing CDV Systems Revit Implementation Package along with a 40% increase in newly created family content and full documentation.
Instead of spending weeks, months, or even years building and maintaining BIM content and project templates, Collectus provides BIM project team members immediate access to a robust and vetted BIM standards package for their building model design, construction, post construction, Operations and Maintenance needs.
Collectus is available for projects using Revit 2019, 2020 and 2021. Content within this cloud environment is maintained and supported for future Revit versions and includes submission requests for new and/or additional content directly within the user interface. These requests are provided through an annual support contract included with the initial purchase and can include new families and/or types, schedules, parameter sets, and modifications of existing Collectus content. Technical support requests are also made within the user interface. An additional service found in Collectus is the ability to store Existing BIM Standards and/or project-specific content in restricted-access areas within the interface.
To see a live demonstration of Collectus, contact us.